Event underscores how quickly startup execs can move up society's food chain.
If you had an invitation and the right speakeasy-styled password on Wednesday, you could have seen Bill Clinton share a stage with, a-hem, social media CEOs. The 42nd President of the United States was the keynote speaker at the two-day, second Annual Foursquare Conference, an affair attended by big media companies, investors, agencies, and brands.
Despite the name, it wasn't a function connected to Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley's company - though he spoke at the event with the likes of LivingSocial CEO Tim O'Shaughnessy and Pandora founder Tim Westergren. Financial advisory firm Lazard organized the C-level conference at the historic The Plaza hotel, next to New York City's Central Park.
Execs from Proctor & Gamble, Warner Bros., Verizon, DirecTV, and Electronic Arts were among other attendees. They were given a complimentary Nook, the Barnes & Noble e-reader device. Best Buy was one of the sponsors for the event, which was not associated with this week's ad:tech New York conference.
And according to a source at a large advertising holding company, the paper invite wasn't good enough to get in the door. A password was required.
Twenty months ago, Foursquare's Crowley was nearly a one-man show, answering press inquiries with brief cell phone calls while trying to get his young business off the ground. He didn't have a media handler. With funding from folks like those in the ritzy Plaza ballroom yesterday, that is no longer the case.
These days, Crowley and the names of other social or new media services are appearing on speaking agendas as opening acts for headliners like Clinton.
Welcome to 2011, week 45.
Update: This story originally stated that Quadrangle Group organized the event.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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